Pre-rolls are great because they make smoking weed easy. Whether you’re a novice who doesn’t know how to roll a joint or a seasoned user on the go, pre-rolls take the legwork out of preparing the flower for your smoking experience, a time-consuming ritual that often stands between potential users and getting high.
On the national market stage, as well as the Massachusetts market we’ll be discussing here, this accessible method of intake is on the rise. According to data from Headset, pre-rolls account for 12% of the US market, with their popularity growing 13% in the US in 2022, and 28% in Canada. When it comes to Massachusetts specifically, pre-rolls account for 17% of the market.
Despite these glitzy numbers, the pre-roll industry has a dark side that often ends with consumers being tricked into buying really, really bad weed.
The issue lies in that you can’t see what is inside a joint, nor do you have any indication of its quality other than the packaging and the brand you’re purchasing it from. Because of this, dishonest manufacturers will often fill pre-rolls with trim, stems, and other byproducts of cannabis cultivation that don’t get you high, passing it off as ground nugs.
Even honest brands that put top-shelf flower in their pre-rolls still fall victim to the reality that once weed is ground up, the trichomes that hold the terpenes and cannabinoids are ground up, too. Ground weed is immediately rendered less potent, and continues to lose potency faster than whole nugs because it is more susceptible to dryness, light exposure, and other elements that degrade the trichomes housing the terpenes and cannabinoids that get you high.
The issue is so bad that I even had an Instagram show called “The Unrolling Series,” where fellow cannabis journalist Jackie Bryant and I unrolled popular pre-rolls and smoked their contents out of a bong to see what was really inside. The results were, to say the least, wildly disappointing.
The point of all this is not to say all pre-rolls are bad, but to elucidate that it’s a treacherous space with a lot of hidden land mines.
How should one navigate the Massachusetts pre-roll market, you ask? Never fear, Weedmaps is here with a comprehensive list of the best pre-rolls in Massachusetts in (almost) every category.
How I compiled this list
I took many factors into consideration when compiling this list.
I’ve been writing about cannabis for close to a decade, so I’m extremely familiar with what’s going on in the pre-roll world.
It’s also important to remember that Massachusetts is the most consolidated cannabis market in the US, meaning that most of the weed in Mass is coming from a few companies.
According to Headset, “More than two-thirds of total sales go to the top 10 ranked brands. This is due to the large proportion of sales that are attributed to the ‘House Brand.’ Massachusetts is one of the most vertically integrated cannabis markets in the US and most retail businesses in the state also have some level of production capability.”
Because of the high level of consolidation in the Mass market, a lot of the brands available there are considered MSO (multiple state operators), so there’s a good amount of crossover in the CA and MA markets at this point in the game. I’ve tried a number of the products and brands talked about here. However, I am based in California, not Massachusetts, so I haven’t tried all of them, hence the next point.
To be sure this portrait of the Massachusetts pre-roll market is as accurate and current as possible, I interviewed a number of industry experts, budtenders, dispensary owners, and journalists on their favorite pre-rolls in every category and compiled the results.
Quality and sensory factors
Quality is obviously a major factor when quantifying a term like best, especially in the pre-roll space where you have products running the gamut from $5 trim-filled boof sticks to high-quality, whole-flower joints. We took into account each pre-roll’s sensory aspects like flavor, effects, smokability, and dry pull (hitting the joint without it being lit to taste the terpenes).
In my opinion, great brands don’t make bad products. For the purposes of this list, I included only established brands with solid reputations that are loved by consumers and respected by industry insiders.
My top 5 Massachusetts pre-rolls
So, here it is! My top picks for the best pre-rolls in Massachusetts, broken into a few categories, are as follows:
Favorite overall MA pre-roll brands
Below are some brands that produce great pre-rolls in Massachusetts. To be clear, they don’t just make pre-rolls, but the pre-rolls they do make are damn good.
Cloud Cover is a premium brand whose experienced cultivation team specializes in seed-to-sale, small-batch products that are expert-approved across the board. With everything from flower to concentrates and vapes, this is a trusted brand that consistently turns out quality pre-rolls you can trust.
Happy Valley is the most awarded brand in Massachusetts and has a ton of great offerings that aren’t too expensive. They have normal pre-rolls as well as “Moon Rockets,” which are pre-rolls infused with bubble hash and kief.
Bountiful Farms was mentioned by almost every expert I spoke to. Bountiful Farms’ attention to detail alone is worth a mention in this list. They hand-trim their flower (which is huge), don’t use pesticides, and overall have created a trustworthy presence in the industry which is especially important in the pre-roll sphere.
Favorite budget pre-roll
Cheap pre-rolls almost always suck, but here is one that doesn’t.
End Game Cookies by Happy Valley
This budget pre-roll was chosen by expert Brit Smith, host of Massachusetts cannabis magazine Different Leaf’s podcast. “The best bang for your buck in Massachusetts pre-rolls comes from Happy Valley, which has packs of 7 half-gram pre-rolls for $40,” she said. “I’ve tried lots of HV’s flower in eighths, and they always grow smelly, springy, juicy buds, so I figured I could trust their pre-rolls too.”
Smith continued, “My favorites so far are the End Game Cookies pre-rolls because they smoke gently and hit quickly with an uplifting giggly effect that’s fun for watching movies and enjoying the extreme munchies. These aren’t just $40 for a 7-pack of half-grams, they also come with a little matchbox inside, and I just love those extra touches.”
Favorite infused pre-roll
Here is a pre-roll to check out that has been infused with various forms of concentrate.
M-80 by Pioneer Valley
I’ll be honest, Pioneer Valley raised some red flags for me in terms of flower quality because they specialize in byproducts of flower like extracts, vapes, edibles, and pre-rolls without actually selling any eighths. This sometimes means the flower a brand uses to make those byproducts is not good enough to sell in nug form. However, these kinds of brands also tend to make really potent infused pre-rolls, as they’re literally rolling them in distillate.
The new M-80 pre-rolls by Pioneer Valley are recommended by our experts on the merit of potency alone, which is really what most people who are smoking infused pre-rolls are after first and foremost. To create an M-80, they take a gram of flower, add distillate, and “extra terps,” which means synthetic terpenes not derived from cannabis, then roll it up, roll it in distillate, and then roll that thing in kief. If you’re in the market for potency (and there’s nothing wrong with that if you are, to each their own!), then these are the pre-rolls for you.